Ring employees were free to view their customers’ surveillance videos. It is this breach of the basic rules of the protection of privacy that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the American consumer policeman, wants to sanction with a fine of 5.8 million dollars, or approximately 5.4 millions of euros. Ring, which “neither admits nor disputes the allegations contained in the complaint”agrees however to take security measures and has gave his consent on May 31 for this legal transaction which must still be approved by a federal court.
In a communicated, the FTC specifies that this company specializing in security cameras, acquired by Amazon in 2018, left the videos of its customers in free access to its employees but also to certain subcontractors. A recklessness that would have allowed hackers to take control of cameras and videos to more than 55,000 US customers.
According to US media investigations NBC And Vice, hackers have actually accessed family cameras, chatting with children, even occasionally uttering racist insults. In its statement, the FTC details the content of the complaints that led it to investigate: one of them reveals that a Ring employee would have consulted thousands of recordings of women in their bathrooms or in the toilets, before another employee discovers these violations of their privacy.
“ Ring’s Lack of Consideration for Privacy and Security Has Exposed Customers to Spying and Harassmentsays Samuel Levine, director of the office of consumer protection at the FTC. Our ordinance wants to set things straight: prioritizing profitability over privacy does not pay off. »
In the order proposed to the federal court, the FTC asks that Ring put in place a more robust privacy and security policy and demands that all data collected be erased, along with the automatic detection algorithms developed using it. .
In a separate transaction, this time targeting its connected speakers, Amazon has agreed on Wednesday to pay $25 million so as not to have to answer in court for charges of violating the privacy of children. In defiance of American law, the company would have kept their recordings for many years. She would not have implemented requests for erasure from parents.
In the past, journalistic investigations have questioned the privacy of Amazon voice assistant users.